Greece has called for restraint after dozens of Palestinian protesters were killed and over 2,000 were injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers along the border of Gaza, following the move by the U.S. to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem.
“We note with abhorrence and deep concern the tragic loss of dozens of lives, including those of children, and the wounding of hundreds of protesters resulting from Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip,” read a foreign ministry announcement.
“It is imperative that restraint be shown in order to avoid further escalation and more victims. Israel needs to respect the right to peaceful demonstration and avoid the use of disproportionate force. On their part, Hamas and all those organizing the protests in the Gaza Strip need to ensure the peaceful nature of these protests,” the statement concluded.
A demonstration in protest of the killings and U.S policy in the Middle East was held on Monday outside the Israeli embassy in Athens by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), affiliated labor unions, and campaign groups.
In statements to local media outside the embassy, KKE general-secretary Dimitris Koutsoumpas strongly condemned the killings, the U.S. president’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the Iranian nuclear-program issue and American policy in Syria.
“This is our neighborhood and when the neighbor’s home is on fire, it will soon reach our home,” he said.
Tuesday marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 ‘Nakba’ (‘Catastrophe’) by Palestinians. This recalls the displacement and exodus of thousands of Palestinians during what Israel terms the ‘War of Independence’ which led to the creation of the state.
Further protests and demonstrations are expected in the Middle East to mark the anniversary.